By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
The Tumalo Irrigation District was almost finished piping a stretch of canals in Tumalo, when it faced an unexpected setback.
“We were pressure testing the pipe two weeks ago and it failed the pressure test,” Chris Schull, interim general manager of the irrigation district, said. “We went investigating to find where the water was coming up, and we located seven different drill holes.”
Holes intentionally drilled, costing an estimated $100,000 in damage, according to Schull.
“It is frustrating when these issues arise,” Schull said. “It costs the district money.”
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident. They won’t comment on who might be the culprit.
But the piping has been protested in the past.
In March of 2020, eight property owners filed a lawsuit against this same project, citing environmental concerns.
“I don’t want to speculate,” Schull said. “I’m going to let the Deschutes County Sheriff — they’re the professionals — do their job.”
The district was able to fill in the holes, and Schull said the water turn on date won’t be delayed.
Starting April 19, water will flow through the pipe to around 50 patrons and 520 acres of irrigated land.
“We’re going to run it this year and see how it does,” Schull said. “If we have an issue that continues to arise, that would be something we’d look at doing in the next off season, of digging that up and replacing that at that point.”
The district is offering a reward up to $10,000 for any information on the vandals.
If you have any information, contact the Sheriff’s office.